One of our writers visited Chapel Hill, NC. While there he caught Surfer Blood at the Local 506. Below is the reveiew.
Surfer Blood is a band I happened to hear earlier this year with the release of Astro Coast. At first I wasn't a big fan of "surfer rock" genre, especially the indie kind, but with recent releases from Wavves and The Drums it started creeping into my playlists more and more. Astro Coast was at the top of this short list and on a recent trip stumbled upon their show in Chapel Hill North Carolina at the Local 506.
First off the venue. Turns out the 506 is a private club in which nonmembers need to pay a three dollar entry fee. Upon entrance you're immediately shot into the bar featuring Mickey grenade and six dollar t-shirt specials. The stage setting offered dim red christmas lights strung up against spider covered wood paneling. The stage itself stood in the corner taking up about a fourth of the standing area and getting there early for a seat along the back was something I hadn't considered as UNC students had already taken them already. Regardless there wasn't a bad spot in the place to watch the show even if you were short or tall. There were even shoddy television cameras in the bar area for the ones who didn't want to sweat it out up front. Think of it as a Beachland Ballroom, Brillobox, and Garfield Artworks hybrid.
Based on the ticket apparently The Drums were the headliners where as at previous shows Surfer Blood was the main attraction. All five members took the stage and I immediately was caught off guard on how young the band members looked. I was amazed how lead singer John Paul Pitts's voice echoed when he sang compared to when he spoke to the crowd. If you saw him on the street you would never think he was the lead singer of this indie surfer band. He would twist his torso from left to right staring straight forward while the rest of the Floridian youngsters started into opener "Fast Jabroni" then into of one of my 2010 favorites, "Take It Easy". Pitts after each song would banter with the crowd about their college campus and how great Chapel Hill was considering they had only been there once when opening for the The Pains at Being Pure at Heart. Moving through the setlist they played a new song called "I'm Not Ready" then towards the end of the Astro Coast filler played an epic version of "Anchorage". The packed crowd gave the newly signed to Warner Bros band a well deserved ovation after finishing with the Pavement cover "Box Elder" and the soaked and only interacting member Mr. Pitts bid everyone farewell. One can imagine where a band like Surfer Blood's current success will take them after signing to a major label, but based on what I saw this night they could could care less.